Daily Bible Reading: 2 Samuel 19-20, Luke 18:1-23
Today’s reading in “The Story” is found in your book starting on page 389 (chapter 28) and it ends in the middle of page 390 before the transition on the next page, with the words, “…go into heaven.”
If you do not have “The Story” you may read the passages in the NIV Bible: Acts 1:1-11.
In the church, we call the events of this reading “the Ascension.” It makes sense, because Jesus ascended into heaven. He left the disciples on the ground and He was lifted up away from them and taken into heaven. While He was leaving, His disciples kept looking up. They wanted to watch Him the whole way.
It had all been so unbelievable at first, when He rose from the dead. They could barely believe it. But then they began to see Him more and more often. They ate with Him and they talked with Him. You can well imagine that they probably listened to Him a bit more closely than they had ever done so before.
But now, it was time. His time on earth had come to a close and He needed to go to His Father in heaven. On one hand, the concept was pretty amazing to the disciples. But on the other hand, they didn’t want Him to go. They didn’t feel as if they were ready to manage the ministry without Jesus being physically there with them every day.
The disciples had been questioning Jesus about whether He was going to establish His kingdom on earth, now that He was raised from the dead. But Jesus had corrected them, and reminded them that those were things for God the Father to do and that no one knew when He would do them. But for them, Jesus said, they were to wait for Him to send the Holy Spirit, who would lead them on their mission forward.
Jesus told them that the Holy Spirit would give them power. He would help them to do the work that Jesus had for them to do. And that was to be His witnesses. But not just His witnesses in their town or neighborhoods. Jesus expected them to be witnesses first in their neighborhoods and town, but then to go out to the neighboring communities and to other areas of that region, and eventually to go to the “ends of the earth” as His witnesses to tell of His saving message!
That was their mission. But right now, they were watching in awe as Jesus ascended into heaven away from them. They were momentarily rudderless. But soon they would have their direction and their mission as they became filled with the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes that’s what happens to us. We become rudderless. We are overwhelmed by life and the difficulties that we face. Often times we fail to seek god’s direction and His will in our lives. Instead we stare into heaven, wondering what to do, but never asking for help.
Just as God provided the Holy Spirit to the disciples, so too He provides us with His Holy Spirit, who gives us faith and inspires us to speak God’s word to others. It is by the leading of the Holy Spirit that we too can be witnesses for Jesus. But in order to do that, we need to stop staring into heaven and start looking around us for those who do not know Jesus. In that mission, the Holy Spirit will provide us with direction and the words to say. We too, are to be witnesses for Jesus.
Tell someone today what Jesus has done for you!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, We’ve heard the expression that sometimes we’re so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good. Keep us from looking into the heavens and help us, with the power of the Holy Spirit, to be your witnesses in our homes, neighborhoods, communities and to the ends of the earth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.